Thursday, June 23, 2011

"Don't tell me how to raise my children!"

"Don't tell me how to raise my own children!"
    I have heard it said multiple times from frustrated, criticized parents.  It seems that for the most part the criticizing is coming from close friends or family members.  A person might feel the right to impose their thoughts on their loved one's parenting styles.  I'm sure it isn't meant to be a negative thing… look at it as constructive criticism right?  While there are tactful ways of giving advice to parents that could be helpful, many times they aren't utilized, and it is taken the wrong way.  On the other hand, sometimes advice is rudely offered that is not really helpful or validated.  Lately I have become victim of this and quite honestly it is beginning to really bug me.  I am very open to advice about most things.  Especially easier ways for potty training, which is what I'm currently struggling through with my son.  However, I am not very open to criticism that I view as either completely off base or just down right insulting!
    I had a visitor not long ago that I rarely see, and has only actually seen me parent on two or three occasions.  My son will be two next month, so I'm going on two years of parenting now.  I know this doesn't seem like a long time, but when you are with your child every single day all day long for the whole two years of their life you become quite good at what you do!  You know what I mean moms!  Anyway, I interact with my child regularly and treat him like the human being that he is.  If I am asked to  help look for a toy in a polite way I will very willingly help.  As my son and I were digging through the toy box looking for his lost sheep, my visitor said nonchalantly, "Just leave him alone.  He will either find it eventually on his own, or he will give up."  I looked at him quizzically and said, "Does it bother you that I'm helping him?"  Did I honestly need that advice?  No, definitely not because I really don't agree with it.  I was asked politely to help, and why wouldn't I?  My son helps me when I ask for help finding my phone or the remote.  He probably learned that helpful skill from me helping him in the first place!  Would I help him if he rudely demanded my help?  No, definitely not!
   I also run into this issue with a doctor I have seen a few times.  She is my back up doctor that I use when my children's pediatric office is not open.  She usually bosses me around the whole time I'm there. She is quite a bit older, and it is like she sees me as a young naive mother.  Yes, I am young and feeling my way through motherhood, but trust me I know my children better than you do!  She constantly is trying to talk me through every interaction.  I had him on my lap up on the table and he was wiggling trying to get down.  We were almost done, and he kept messing with the drawers after I told him no repeatedly.  This was my silent way of putting him in time out.  He knew exactly what I was doing, but then the doctor said, "oh let him down, he doesn't have to sit up there."  I replied, "I know he doesn't, but I told him not to get in the drawers and he isn't listening."  She then said, "He isn't hurting anything.  You can let him down."  I know she was just trying to be nice to Brayve, but it was very bossy toward me, and I had a reason for what I was doing!  He was listening to our conversation of course, and realized that she was on his side, so he began to act out more.  I already knew my son had an ear infection when I walked in that office.  I knew that he had the same virus that all of his cousins had.  I also knew that I couldn't prescribe him medicine for his ear infection, so I had to go to the doctor for it.  I am very thankful for that doctor because the office is open hours that most offices aren't, but I dread going there because of the criticism I always receive.
   I have been told I am over protective, too strict, impatient.  I honestly think about things like that when I hear them.  I look back to my parenting style and really analyze my actions.  Sometimes I see where improvement can be made, and I try harder.  I am then thankful for the advice I receive or the comment that is made, but it is definitely harder for me to take it when it is given rudely.  I do not run to my children every time they cry.  I know what they are crying about usually and most of the time it isn't a big deal.  I don't pick them up every time they fall because I know when they are really hurt and then I am the first one there.  I don't fly off the handle every time they do something that they shouldn't be doing because I know a lot of times it is being done out of curiosity and they just need it explained.  I don't walk around my house screaming all day long (usually) :)
    I have been told to just let my 11 month old walk down the stairs, "He will learn when he hits his head the first time not to do it that way!"  When I very sternly said, "NO, I will show him how to back down the stairs the safer way so that I don't have to take him to the emergency room!"  Then I was told that I am too overprotective!  No, I don't let my two year old drink pop.  Does that mean he has never taken a drink of it before?  Of course he has tried it!  Luckily he didn't like it!  I was told I was being too restrictive, and that he would resent me for it.  If he resents me for watching out for his health then so be it!  I do not drink pop myself for dietary reasons, so why would I have my child do it?  This does not mean that later in life he will not be drinking the occasional pop after his baseball games or at a birthday party, but I will not be buying it to keep in my house.  That is my choice as a parent so keep your comments to yourself!  I say no when he asks for his third cookie.  Not because I don't want him to enjoy things, but because I know his tummy is going to hurt!
   A child needs stability in life, so parenting in a consistent way is what I believe is best!  A good parent does what they think is best for their children.  Being a parent is a 24 hour a day, 7 days a week, 365 days a year job.  We could be so much more helpful to each other by encouraging and praising good parenting!  (sounds a lot like parenting a child huh? ;p)


  1. I totally agree! I get grief from my husbands family all the time for being too strict, not letting them have pop or candy, and for taking away their bottles before they are a year old. (their kids were 2 or over before they got there bottles taken away).... People need to realize everyone has there own style.

  2. Wow! You summed up my whole life in that entry! I've been a mom for almost 6 years and I still get unwanted advise from my sister in law who has a 3 year old. And I especially hate the pregnancy advice when I don't ask for it! I've done this 3 times now, I'm good! I like my mom's advice not just because she's my mom but because she gives it in a way that isn't hurtful or makes me feel like a crap mom! My gma on the other hand frustrates the heck out of me! I would like to sit and chat with her and mom and NOT have her yelling at my kids cause they are playing to loudly. I mean the women had 7 kids! You would think she would understand! The best is when you get advise from the people who don't have kids.....need I say more? I overheard a comment my best friend's husband said to her about me. It was very hurtful that he said I didn't love my kids cause I was always on top of them to behave and that was being to strict. Well for starters he only ever sees us in church so of course I'm on them to behave! I don't want to have horrible kids in public. I let them be kids at home. Sorry ranting! I'm glad I'm not the only frustrated mom out there with unwanted advise that usually comes from in laws LOL!

  3. Oh Elizabeth, it is funny you said the thing about church! haha That is where I am the most strict too!

  4. I SO agree! It's more annoying than words can express when, as a parent, someone criticizes you with no validity.
    I don't have time to say all I want to on this subject, haha, but I just wanted to say thank you for sharing this!!
    So thank you :)